|GEORGE WILLIAM (BILL) GILLETT FAMILY HISTORY||BACK to the MORLAN FAMILY|
GRANDPARENTS (Mother's Parents)
Lyda May KellyBorn: April 12, 1886, in Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa,
daughter of Freeman and Sarah (McClane) Kelly
Died: Monday, November 26, 1973,
at a Butler, Missouri nursing home
after a long illness at age 87
George Emmett MorlanBorn: September 8, 1880, in Dublin, Barton
County, Missouri, son of Erwin and Adaline
Died: Wednesday, December 29, 1965,
at the Bates County Memorial Hospital in Butler,
Missouri at age 85
Married: October 24, 1907 in Fort Madison, Lee County, Iowa
GO TO THEIR CHILDREN
Occupation: Owned and operated a dry cleaning business
George Emmett Morlan was born on September 8, 1880, in Dublin, Missouri, the fifth child and third son of Erwin and Adaline (Curry) Morlan. Dublin was located in Barton County about 65 miles north of Springfield. Dublin is not listed as a town in Missouri today as it just faded away when the railroad moved their operation south to Jasper, Missouri.
George's first memories were about 1883 when he was about 3 years old. The family had gone to Springfield, Missouri, and stayed there while their father, Erwin Morlan, went to St. Louis for supplies. He was a merchant in Dublin. They stayed at the home of some friends, the McClarins. George would return there 35 years later when his family moved to Mountain Home, Missouri.
He also remembers swimming as a youth and when he was getting out of the water he saw his shirt going down a cow's throat.
About 1896, when George was about 16 years old, his father had a stroke and was paralyzed. Therefore, it was up to the two youngest boys, George & Fred, to run the store and help on the farm. George was the assistant Postmaster and had to carry the mail to the railroad four times a day where it was picked up on the fly.
The Morlan's moved to Marceline, Missouri, about 1902. George was about 22 years old. Marceline, Missouri, was where his sister, Cora (Morlan) Wallar, had moved when she married Stephen Wallar. Marceline is located in Linn County in north central Missouri.
In Marceline, George and his brother, Fred, started working for the Santa Fe Railroad. After a while George became a fireman but had to quit shortly thereafter because the cinder dust bothered his eyes. He was transferred to Fort Madison, Iowa, by the Santa Fe to work at their round house. Fort Madison is located in Lee County on the Mississippi River just north of Keokuk, Iowa.
His brother and parents also went with him to Iowa, with his brother, Fred, continuing to work at Santa Fe. They lived at 2332 Webster in Fort Madison. Fred returned to live in Marceline, Missouri about 1906.
While living in Fort Madison, George met and married Lyda May Kelly October 24, 1907. This was exactly 31 years to the day from when the parents of Lyda (Kelly) Morlan, Freeman and Sarah (McClane) Kelly, were married. October 24th was also the date that George's younger brother, Fred, married Sylvia Saunders and when Fred's second daughter, Marcella, married Maxwell Kelley.
George was 27 years old at the time while Lyda was 21. Stephen Wallar, the husband of Cora (Morlan) Wallar, signed the affidavit for their ages. Signing as witnesses to the wedding were C.W. Kelly, Lyda's brother, and Lenora Welch who married C.W. Kelly two years later. Lyda's brother also worked for the Santa Fe as an engineer and may have introduced them.
On the marriage application, George was listed as a car repairman for the Santa Fe Railroad.
After the marriage , George's parents, Erwin and Adda (Curry) Morlan, moved back to Marceline to live with their daughter, Cora (Morlan) Waller. The parents of Lyda (Kelly) Morlan, Freeman and Sarah (McClane) Kelly, were listed as living with the George Morlans at the 2332 Webster address in Fort Madison.
They were living on Webster Street in Fort Madison when their first child, George Erwin Morlan, was born February 14, 1909.
In 1910, Eunice Morlan, the daughter of Oliver and Emma (Benford) Morlan, George's brother, moved in with them after the death of her mother. Her father, Oliver, had been kicked in the head by a horse and was in the mental hospital in Nevada, Missouri.
Shortly thereafter the Morlans sold their house on Webster and moved to a farm outside of town where George farmed as well as worked for the railroad.
Erwin C. Morlan, George's father, passed away on December 29, 1910, in Marceline, Missouri; Lyda's mother, Sarah (McClane) Kelly, passed away in Fort Madison, Iowa, on September 23, 1912.
About 1913, the country was in a deep depression. George was only getting about three days work a week on the railroad and they were afraid he would not be getting that for very long. Since his brother, Fred, and his mother and several uncles and aunts were homesteading in Montana, the young Morlan family decided to join them.
The George Morlan family left Iowa in the dead of winter in 1913, traveling to Montana by covered wagon to homestead.
They arrived in Montana in time to plant a crop on his mother's place. They found a place of their own to homestead between Sykes and Belltower, Montana, where they built a home of part dug-out and part lumber. They obtained a patent for 320 acres in sections 27 and 34 in range 60-E of Carter County, Montana. The 320-acre claim was unusual as most claims were for 160 acres. To claim complete ownership they were required to improve the property and live on it for five years
His bother, Fred, had also made a claim for 320 acres and their mother, Adaline (Curry) Morlan made a claim for 160 acres. They stayed a total of about six years in Montana.
While in Montana George and Lyda's second child, Atha Arthela Morlan, was born on October 4, 1914. They homesteaded for almost four years where George also worked on the wheat harvests and as a rancher.
About 1917, because of World War I, the Morlan clan returned to Missouri with Adda (Curry) Morlan going back to Marceline, Missouri, to live with her daughter, Cora. The George Morlan family then went to live on a 40-acre farm they had purchased near Mountain View, Missouri. Mountain View is located in the south central part of the state near Willow Springs, about half way between the cities of Springfield and Poplar Bluff.
A story was recalled in later years by Atha in which there was a bad murder on the farm next to theirs in which the woman living there had been thrown into the well with her 6-month-old baby tossed on top of her. The baby was saved but not the mother. Without their realizing it, the lady that did the killing stayed with the Morlans that night and slept with Atha. Although the Morlans had left the area, they had to return for the trial of that lady. For the full account of that murder see:
After living there only about two Years, George went to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in order to find work. Finding none, he went to Drumright, Oklahoma, where he found work as a carpenter in the oil fields. The rest of the family then joined him there. This was about 1920. He built a new house for them at 201 Jones Street. Drumright is located in the northeast part of the state about 40 miles southwest of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Living with them in the two bedroom home was Lyda's father, Freeman Kelly. While there, he raised chickens in their fenced back yard. Lyda worked in a meat market and later opened up a millinery shop. Lyda Morlan wasn't feeling too well during this time and she drove to Tulsa in a Model "T" Ford once a week for treatment. After Lyda had a nervous breakdown, she and Atha went to live with George's mother, Adaline (Curry) Morlan, and his sister, Cora in Marceline, Missouri.
About 1924 the Morlans left Drumright and moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where his brother, Fred, was living. Erwin Morlan, their son, only 15 years old at the time, drove their car to Kansas City.
In Kansas City, George took a course at the Sweeney Automobile School and became a licensed mechanic although he never did pursue the trade or even drive a car. He went to work as a carpenter. He was very much non-union and opposed to all unions. During this time he worked on the President and Ambassador Hotels.
They lived at 2915 Walnut for a short time and then moved to 2836 Tracy where Lyda operated a boarding house. While there Freeman Kelly, Lyda's father, passed away on February 15, 1924, at the age of 78. His body was returned to Fort Madison, Iowa for burial.
In 1928 the family moved to an apartment at 3042 Grand where Erwin graduated from Manual Training High School. Erwin belonged to the Military Club and spent lots of time at the club swimming. From there they bought a house at 3529 Mersington. They then moved to an apartment at 3315 E. 33rd. At the time Erwin started working for Sam Goldstein, a dry cleaner at 33rd and Indiana.
Atha started to Central High School which was within a block of their home. While there Erwin bought a new 1931 Chevrolet roadster with a rumble seat.
In 1931, the Morlans decided to buy a cleaning shop at 4602 Prospect. They bought it from Sam Gross, who started the cleaning union in Kansas City. George made living quarters in the back of the shop, where they lived when Atha graduated from Central High School in 1932. Atha left home in 1933 when she married Ira E. Gillett. George was about 51 years old.
About 1936 the George Morlans bought a small 10-acre farm near Lake City, east of Independence, Missouri. At the farm Erwin met and later married Anna Nadine Gore in September of 1936.
In 1937 they had a serious fire in their cleaning shop that burned out their shop and most of their furniture. It also damaged a piano that they owned since their stay in Fort Madison. This included a trip overland to Montana. Lyda had always enjoyed teaching youngsters music.
In the early 1940's the Morlan's sold their cleaning shop and lived full time at their Lake City farm. During World War II Lyda worked at the Lake City Ammunition Works, which could be seen from their farm. George had built a permanent house on the farm in 1947. This was the third house that George Morlan had built, counting the sod house in Montana.
The George Morlans were always active in church life and started up two churches in their stay at their Lake City farm.
In 1958 they moved to Hume, Missouri, where they had purchased an older home. Hume, Missouri, is located on the Missouri/Kansas border about 80 miles south of Kansas City. They were members of the First Baptist Church there.
George Emmett Morlan died at 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 29, 1965, at the Bates County Memorial Hospital in Butler, Missouri, following a stroke he suffered at his home the previous Sunday at about 7 p.m. He was 85 years old at the time. He was buried in Hume, Missouri.
His wife, Lyda May (Kelly) Morlan, passed away on Monday, November 26, 1973, at a Butler, Missouri, nursing home after a long illness. She was 87 years old at the time. She was buried next to her husband in Hume, Missouri. Both of their services were held at the First Baptist church in Hume, Missouri.